Vu is 14 this year, the web looked a different place back in 2010, Apple released the first iPad, social media was in its infancy and websites were delightfully wonky by design (yes that was one of ours).
I love to find new things, but sometimes, I’m late to early adopting. I’m keen to keep my ear to the ground but also eager to ensure it’s the right thing and not just the latest fad.
Perhaps occasionally I also play the anti-adopter, and sometimes (like this Christmas) I’ve spent my curiosity on creating a starter and making endless sourdough blissfully unaware I’m at least 3 years behind the trend.
I don’t know if it matters when I embrace change, the race is long and it’s only with myself, but the important thing to hold onto as I grow older (and more accustomed to my habits) is that I remain open to new ways of thinking.
So, as I munch on my marmalade sourdough toast, I ponder with gratitude on a skill that seems to come easy to the early adopters, they overcome blockers for change.
I wonder where this steadfast belief in the unknown is birthed in me? I reflect on a childhood that was mechanically encouraged and not in any particular way alternatively directed, and whilst I was around a lot of different thinking (having spent my formative years growing up around Totnes) I was comfortable respecting views that weren’t my own with much of the spiritualism washing over me.
Whether it just takes a while for that stuff to sink in I don’t know, but I am more receptive to spiritual wisdom in my later years, and I am reminded of how Buddhism celebrates the importance of endings to allow for new beginnings.
Despite a difficult relationship with my dad, I know now my boundless enthusiasm for learning and trying new things comes from him, it has taken many years for me to accept we are more alike than I cared to see, and in this, we share the same important view: that before trying something new, we already believe we will be brilliant at it.
And although this has always been a mainstay of my mentality, I know that it isn’t a view shared by everyone, or a starting point for many, others have to work hard to build this self belief and silence the blockers to change.
More importantly, I now spend most of my time with clients who are at the point of change. New business, new brand, new product, new market, new ideas – all needing to be translated to an audience and “put out there”.
Putting anything out there can create a feeling of vulnerability, which in itself isn’t something to be afraid of. True, some of my most fearful memories exist in a lonely vulnerability and some of my happiest exist in shared vulnerability.
An entrepreneurial spirit, seeking change, and willing to recognise and explore their blockers with that of an early adopter mindset, is a powerful force in this world, and when it comes to marketing, there is no better space to explore these ideas than a workshop for this pulsing creativity.
And this is something you can do yourself.
One of the first exercises I do with new clients in a workshop is to create a metaphor for them that identifies the things that will slow them down and the things that will enable them. It’s different for everyone but a boat is an easy analogy for most, I might ask them “what pushes the sails?” and “what weighs the hull down?”.
I’m blessed to have worked with some of the most creative brains on the planet, and over the years I’ve had all sorts of challenges, some insisting there’s no time for marketing, others looking for it to fail so they can say they tried it, a few will refuse to let others in whilst they micromanage slow or no progress at all.
In the examples I consider, I would summarise them as a reluctance to change or having issues around perception (which I think might relate to that vulnerability after deciding to change).
My advice to those who don’t naturally “early adopt” is to create time and space to play. Be patient with what you try, authentic to yourself in how you communicate and keep asking what benefit you are bringing to others – this will ensure your new brand aims to solve the world’s problems, your new business cares about its staff and your new products are customer-centric.
If you have a new idea for 2024, find someone you trust who throws themselves into new experiences to share your ideas with. Run through this marketing plan structure, starting with an exercise to unpick your blockers and encourage your friend to point out when your ideas are being stifled by them.
Hmmmm. The agave nectar was a great addition, though I wonder if that sourdough needed a touch more salt.
Ultimately, after our twixmas reflections, the new year is all about change. In January, we’re commercial targets, socially encouraged to identify and set personal challenges around fitness, drink and diet.
But are we investing our energy and resources in the right place? Or are we overlooking the thoughtless routines and excusing the comfortable behaviours that rob us of different perspectives and a willingness to try new things?
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